Conjugating Spanish Verbs Fluently

Conjugating Spanish Verbs Fluently

One of the most challenging aspects of learning Spanish is mastering verb conjugation. Memorizing the various verb tenses for the appropriate subjects (1st person, 2nd person familiar, 2nd person formal, 3rd person and the plural forms of each) is quite a task. But once memorized, how do you take it to the next level, which I call Verb Conjugation Fluency.

Verb Conjugation Fluency is where you are able to mix up the tenses and subjects of the verbs with little effort. It may be that you never used a particular combination before. Let’s use an example with the verb “ofrecer”. You may already know the meaning of the verb, which is “to offer”. But if it came up in conversation, could you conjugate it on demand without thinking about it? How would you say, “I hope she offers me a peanut?” Espero que ella me ofrezca un maní. If you didn’t have to think about it and it just came out, then you have mastered verb conjugation.

So how does the aspiring Spanish student reach this point in their speaking skills? One thing to bear in mind is that it takes time and effort. There are so many verbs to learn, but it’s not just a matter of learning the simple rules. As the placement of stress, or accents, changes with each verb tense, the muscles of the mouth have to be trained to produce the right sound just as much as the brain has to have a conceptual grasp of verb conjugation.

Fortunately there is a tool available now for Spanish learners that specifically targets Spanish verb conjugation. It’s a software program called the Verberrator. The Verberrator comes pre-loaded with over 500 verbs and the ability to select which verbs and which tenses to practice. There is amazing user flexibility with this program, allowing the user to even select which subjects to work with, how many seconds to elapse between drills, etc.

I have been working systematically with the Verberrator for almost two years, and I can testify that my verb conjugation fluency has improved far beyond any level I was able to achieve without it. By “systematically” I mean that I created a system to work with the Verberrator, which I describe in detail in my book Teaching Yourself Spanish. This system allows me to really learn the verbs and how each is conjugated. You may even call it “overlearning” which is a process of learning something more than you will probably ever need. My Verberrator workout involves a 50 minutes session every morning. It’s one of the first things I do every day.

The results, like I said, have been incredible. I can fluently shift between subjects and tenses in conversation, that is, without really thinking about it anymore. Now 50 minutes a day every day for two years may seem like a lot of time to get to that point. But before the Verberrator, all I could do to practice verb conjugation was use flash cards. I would pick a tense to work with, let’s say the preterit, then whenever a verb would come up in the flashcard pile, I would conjugate it in the various forms of the preterit. Compared to the Verberrator method, that flashcard method is like lifting a few pounds versus going to the gym for a full-on workout.

One of the best features about the Verberrator is that you can randomize the different verbs, tenses and subjects. This helps you simulate an immersion experience, where you would be doing the same in a real conversation. You just can’t get that kind of a workout with flashcards. CLICK HERE to view a video demo that I made of the Verberrator.

Is the Verberrator perfect? No, there are a few quirks, some grammatical mistakes that come up due to the complexity of what the creator was trying to achieve. For example the direct objects of the sample sentences are fixed and once in a while various combinations result in nonsensical sentences. Maybe one of these days I’ll start a log of the mistakes. Most of these are easily overlooked and certainly don’t detract from the value of the product. One other thing to keep in mind is that only English speakers would be able to use it as all the translations are in English.

The Verberrator sells for only $57. BUY HERE. For the serious Spanish student, I can’t recommend it enough. Coming up with a systematic approach to using the Verberrator will make it less overwhelming. Obviously you can’t just absorb all 500 verbs at once. With quite a bit of tweaking I devised a system, which I describe in detail in my book, like I said previously, which involves a 6-step process for each verb. It’s a slow process, but it works. After a couple of years of following it, one day you’ll realize you have mastered Spanish verb conjugation and you are fluent with it.

 

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